Town Square

Post a New Topic

Paly High tries for booze-free dances

Original post made on May 28, 2008

Two limousines that arrived at Palo Alto High School's April prom full of teenagers reeking of alcohol — who verbally abused administrators after testing positive for drinking on a breathalyzer — were "the last straw," according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (128)

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2008 at 10:45 am

This is wonderful and long overdue. Kudos to PAUSD. We can no longer continue to be two-faced with kids about substance abuse, i.e., saying no, but doing yes ourselves. Our kids smell mendacity. The schools are yet again coming to the rescue of parents who refuse to parent and who indirectly condone alcohol and drug abuse with the limos and hotel rooms for their kids.


Posted by Another Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 10:59 am

This must not only be done but be seen to be done. And, it must be the parents as well as the kids who pay the consequences. Often, it is the parents who give the teens champagne or something before they go off to a school prom, and it is this type of behavior that must stop. Not only must the kids be penalized, but parents too. If they have drunk too much or refuse to get their kids home, as well as providing them with the alcohol in the first place, they must be reported to the police and they must get points on their own licences. It is the only way to work this one. If parents lose their own licences for getting and allowing their kids to be drunk, they will soon see the error of their ways.

We are not talking about parents giving them a glass of wine at a family function, we are talking about parents who refuse to see that what they are doing by sending their kids out having had alcohol is downright wrong.


Posted by yet another Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 1:33 pm

There are also issues at Los Altos High School.
There has to be a penalty applied consistently, otherwise influential students/parents get a pass while others are penalized.
It can be tough for those of us parents who don't give liquor to our kids before events like this when they see other parents doing that.


Posted by great schools, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Breathalyzers and consequences along with educational assemblies should make an impact on the students (especially since schools have to report incidents to colleges). It would be great if these could be used at the sporting events at both high schools as well as the dances but then again if that were to take place, we might have to find consequences for the adults that don't pass the breathalyzer.


Posted by Eric, a resident of Downtown North
on May 28, 2008 at 6:57 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A former Paly student, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2008 at 7:05 pm

This is a pea-brained policy that has no place in school. It is not up to school administers to police dances. This issue has been blown way out of proportion by both parents and teachers. The only thing that should be feared is students putting themselves and others in harms way because they are driving drunk. The reality is Paly Students are smarter than that. They rent limos, have designated drivers or drink at a location that is close enough to school to walk to.

Dances are safe because we live in a safe community, not because they are not full of innocent drunk teenagers. Never did I ever feel threatened at a Paly dance, and never did I feel like help was too far away for those who needed it.

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? It is sad that the America I am growing up in is full of people who tolerate this type of prerequisite policing. Accepting this new policy is being accepting of the Orwellian principles fit for discussion in a Paly English class. Unfortunately, our society today explicitly ignores the rights of privacy, probably cause and unlawful search that students learn about in Paly's government classes.

I ask, what example are we leading by?


Posted by Mike, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Are you kidding me, it is the job of the school administrators to make sure rules are obeyed at dances. I'm a former Paly student too, and I would get wasted and go to dances which is all in good fun. But seriously, things were getting sort of sloppy by the time I graduated.

No matter what controls are implemented, kids who want to drink are gonna drink and there's nothing anyone can do about it. We just need to communicate responsibility when using, which can be a bit of an oxy moron when you're playing quarters and pounding tequila shots. Fun memories though for sure, and whoever is about to make the cliche "what you actually remembered" joke, save it.

Also, not all students can afford to get limos, so while it is more safer from a non drunk driving standpoint, it's not an option available to most students.

I think the biggest mistake was the verbal abuse of the people doing their job. Still, I wasn't there, I don't know what was going down.

Party on dudes.


Posted by Paly student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 7:59 pm

This is really stupid. First off, the kids that were caught were not belligerent or in a dangerous state.
Yes you'll argue that drinking is not allowed in the first place....then why the hell do they put us in limos?
Again you might argue: for the fun/privilege...
My Response? durrrrrrr we could argue for hours, but basically people have been drinking before prom in the limos since prom was invented.

I could understand if the kids were puking or being violent but from a first person view, the only thing that got them busted was smell. A handful of kids were caught part way through, because of others getting caught which also backs the point of: No Harm, No Foul.

In the article, the administrators piss and moan about having to waste time with a handful of kids then the other 600, they could of just left the kids alone in the first place. There were probably 100 others that also had alcohol before the dance.

Now about the current issue of breathylzing at each dance....i can't wait to see the turn out and i can't wait for the school to waste tons of good money for other things. But, if the school is down to throw money down the drain over a stupid issue, be my guest.

Im not going to lie: all my friends, and i have drank at almost every dance and have not gotten caught. AS a matter of fact at prom i drank and i was maybe 2 feet from Mrs. McEvil(MacEvoy) having a perfectly normal conversation. Not only was she oblivious to the smell everyone else around me could smell but she was clueless of the hundreds of kids behind me that were drunk as well. No Harm No foul



Posted by Mike, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Correction: should read "safer", not "more safer". What can I say, I had Mr. Bergstrom.

Haha.

FREEDOM BABY. GOD BLESS THE U S of A. *hiccup*


Posted by Tom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 8:04 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 8:04 pm

i was one of the ones to get caught drinking it was pretty fun i dont regret gotta do it movin' yup yup


Posted by student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 8:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Put them in jail.

We undergo drug testing for jobs. We have to stop at DUI checkpoints. We have to go through security checkpoints at airports (including a full, pat-down body search last year in Frankfurt). Liquor licenses have been lost, and employees have been cited and fired for serving alcohol to underage customers.

Why should high school students be immune from the laws that govern all of us?

If a 16 to 18-year old shows up at a high school dance under the influence, arrest them, and bring in their parents ("contributing"). Let's put the responsibility where it belongs - on the kid, and on the parents that let it happen. Don't criticize the school for protecting the decent, law-abiding participants in the event.


Posted by Student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Wow, the administrators are so ignorant. Their basic arguements make no reason to breathalyze every kid at a dance:
Their first reason is something along the lines of "alcohol is bad and it illegal for underage kids....they could get in serious trouble...etc"
That argument is old and understandable to an extent...

the next part is complete garbage. Ms. McEvoy states that the kids were yelling at her and the staff which is why they breathalyzed them and she wrote that "if students are going to be disrespectful, when they are drunk and they're going to scream obscenities at staff, then they should be breathalyzed." its not like the kids walked in and started yelling, AFTER they got caught, they were mad becuase of the reason they were caught and that they weren't doing any harm, THEN they started arguing and yelling. Being right by the group and watching the process....no obscenities were yelled.


Posted by To Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2008 at 8:15 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Bill, a resident of College Terrace
on May 28, 2008 at 8:15 pm

To "student"

Maybe if you weren't drunk you could write a more literate comment. Do you really expect to graduate - and be anything other than homeless - the way you write? Concentrate on academics, not booze.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2008 at 8:18 pm

This new policy that they are enforcing is the most pointless thing I have ever heard of. Although it prevents teens from drinking at the PALY dances, it causes them to not even want to go to the dances... I am just curious, how many people are even planning on attending the last chance dance?
I hope the PALY administration realizes that they are causing more teenagers to get drunk this Friday and not go to the dance where they would have gone tipsy... Also a lot of kids are going to be driving home from parties DRUNK... was this what the administration intended to happen? I dont think so.
I think the administration needs to lighten up and realize that this is high school. They probably had their years when they would get drunk every weekend and try every drug known to mankind... It is also A LOT safer to come to a PALY dance where you know someone is there to help incase anything is going on rather than to be at someone's house with no supervisors and being at risk to drink a lot more than needed.


Posted by Yet another Paly parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Mike, Tom, student, and Paly Student,

Fortunately, spoiled, arrogant, and careless students like you are still in the minority at Paly.

2 facts: underage drinking is illegal, and the school has the right and responsibility to ensure that dances are safe for all students.

If you don't like living in a police state, grow up, and take responsibility for your own behavior.


Posted by Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Whoever the coward was who wrote under the name "To Jim H" above just proved the point. Thank you.


Posted by ANONYMOUS, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 28, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Okay, so I realize that drinking is illegal for those under 21... WE GET IT. BUT hey, adults did EVERYTHING we are doing now when they were our age. I do not understand why these adults are cracking down on US. WHAT HYPOCRATES. Let us live a little and learn from our mistakes. If we drink NOW and learn from our mistakes NOW then we will not make even worse mistakes in college. We will be aware of the maximum amount of alcohol that we can consume because we would have learned.


Posted by Funny, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2008 at 8:50 pm

It is funny seeing the stubborn self-righteousness of many of the student posters. Nice to see the administration taking its responsibility seriously.


Posted by Marissa, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 28, 2008 at 8:51 pm

No wonder Gunn has higher scores. Reading these posts from Paly students attempting to justify their actions is sad- if they spent their time studying, they might actually learn something. Also, I applaud the principal for having the guts to take a hard stance- and for being the adult so many parents have failed to be.


Posted by Spelling test, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Now here's a new argument: let them get drunk now and they will learn not to drink too much later. That's a good one!
There seems to be a connection between wanting to get drunk and not spelling correctly. Yep, we are HYPOCRATES ! Thank you Anonymous, your message was fun.
Don't need to give them a drunk test, give them a spelling test.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 28, 2008 at 9:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jeremy Kim, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 9:12 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] None of you adults are writing anything worth reading while some kids are actually trying to make some kind of argument. My point: I don't see any kind of worth while argument or point coming from you "super-smart-college-graduate" adults.
I left my full name and where i go to school, so if you are offended, you know where to find me. Cry me a river


Posted by Marissa, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 28, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Jeremy,

Your problem is that you are trying to defend the indefensible. The students come across not as reasoned thinkers, but whining spoiled brats denied what they want. So, stop drinking and take advantage of your education, and you might develop some credibility.


Posted by James, a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Ten million Americans suffer from alcoholism. It's not stylish or attractive. Unfortunately, each individual must learn this by their experience. Paly should send the cost of testing as a bill to parents for students who are tested, regardless of the test results. Drinking habits need to end at home.


Posted by Mother of two teens, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 9:35 pm

I'm a 49-year-old parent. My kids are both at Paly. They're not drinkers. I think the administration is blowing things WAY out of proportion. They caught a handful of kids at the prom drunk--out of 600!--and they're making a big damn deal of it. I really don't understand all the outrage. All the prom-goers were forced to rent limos, presumably so there would be no drunk-driving incidents, which means the administration assumed at least some kids would be drinking. Again, a handful out of 600 is what we're talking about! And now they're going to breathalyze every kid who shows up at a dance? My kids plan to boycott all such dances, and I fully support their boycott. They've been raised to trust and be trusted. Paly used to seem like a place that shared our values, but not anymore, sadly.


Posted by Jeremy Kim, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 9:42 pm

I will bet you 100 dollars I will grow up to be more successful than you.
It seems like you think that kids want to be allowed to go drunk to dances but its more about feeling it unnecessary to breathalyze every kid. I don't find that spoiled or whining. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Jeremy Kim, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 9:43 pm

^directed towards Marissa


Posted by Sung Kim, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 9:47 pm

I was a student caught drinking at prom and I think that the new policy they are enforcing on the new dances is great! Counseling taught me the truth about drinking and drugs and the effects on the brain and how terrible it is for a young growing mind like mine. I think it was about time they started enforcing no drinking at school dances and other events.


Posted by samuel adams writer for the students, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Drinking by teenagers has been done for as long as alcohol has been available. No regulation by the school at dances will ever limit the amount of alcohol that is consumed but rather just change the location at which it is consumed. Would you rather have your kids be intoxicated at some kids house or a park after the dance where there is 0 adult supervision or at a high school dance where if anything goes wrong there are people there to deal with it?
I am currently a Paly student and I find the whole situation ridiculous. I cannot fathom how administrators and parents likewise can go and shun the idea of high schoolers drinking when a majority of themselves consumed alcohol for recreational purposes during their high school years. The biggest problem for me is not that they want to reduce the amount of teenage drinking because I have myself and have also seen many teens drink alcohol abusively . However I do find it ironic that they think that breathalyzing every individual on the way into the dance is going to help teenage drug problems at all. For all the breathalyzers know I could pop 3 ecstasy pills and smoke crack before I walked through that entrance and I would be sober as a bird. I don't know about all the parents who posted on this wall but when I have kids i'd rather them drink a few beers before a dance then do more extreme street drugs, and don't kid yourself parents it is not difficult to obtain ecstasy or similar drugs in Palo Alto.
Whether or not you parents drank in high school and I'm guessing the majority that posted on this blog did not, you have to understand that there has been and always will be a certain percentage of teenagers who choose to drink alcohol. For some it is a choice of morals and others it is just a lack of opportunity. For some select few who choose to abuse it this decision to drink has consequences but for the majority of high schoolers drinking illegally as teens had and will have little affect on the lives of these teens. What needs to be done is take action on those minority that do abuse it for those people it may very well have an effect on. This can be done simply by following the procedure used in the previous years where students were busted for drinking if it was clear they were highly intoxicated and out of control


Posted by Kevin, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 10:17 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sung Kim, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Remember kids, you booze you lose. Don't drink, don't drive. Please reference M.A.D.D.(mothers against drunk driving) for more information. There is help out there, you're not alone.


Posted by Funny, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Jeremy is the best so far. He is the embodiment of the youthful chip on the shoulder. "You know where to find me" - if James Dean were a blogger, he would be Jeremy. Nothing like the innocent arrogance of those who haven't lived long enough to realize their own fallibility. Jeremy, I hope you grow up to be FAR more successful than me. Aren't adults just the stupidest people ever?


Posted by Jeremy Kim, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 10:47 pm

To Funny:
I never said anything about all adults being stupid. lern2reed. I said that the comments were stupid. So far maybe one or two adults here have written some kind of worthy argument, the rest is trash.
Times have changed and what...maybe you are 30, 40, 50 (lets hope you're not older)its not arrogance its stating the fact that some adults are better off not saying anything(this applies to Marissa). kbye.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by pa mom, a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Samual Adams - I'm a mom with kids heading to Paly one day and I have to say 1) all this talk is making me very nervous and 2) I agree with you on most points. Breathalyzing every student at every dance is a strong-arm tactic that penalizes those who are not drunk. I can't tell you how much those employees at Fry's annoy me when I have to produce my receipt before I leave the store. I feel like my privacy is being invaded because of a few jerks who steal. I also agree that it's a bit naive to think this is the only drug being consumed.

With that said, if you can control how much you drink, so that you aren't drunk, don't you think this is: 1)healthier 2) shows you can control alcohol; it doesn't control you 3)won't result in getting caught. With the last point being, if you are so drunk it's obvious, your parents probably need to be called and you and they should take responsibility for your actions. Even if it's just alcohol on your breath -- if you get caught the administration probably has to call your parents. After all drinking really doesn't belong at a high-school dance and you can't really expect the administration to condone it. Also, this is what I would consider a learning experience about taking responsibility for your actions and may help prepare you for college, where no one is telling you what to do.

I also know for a fact that drugs and alcohol can be bad news and overdoing them can cause lasting harm, which unfortunately may not become evident for many years - so really you don't always know when too much is too much. It's hard to see this when you are entering the prime of your lives.

So, in short, I don't like to see the actions of a few affecting everyone. But I do think consequences for bad choices are understandable. In the meantime, lose the breathalyzers. Perhaps the administrations actions will be a self-correcting if students don't attend the dances. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.


Posted by Funny, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Jeremy, thx 4 ur responz. u rule, otherz drool. Peace out dude. Cry me a river. kbi

PS Even though I suck, I still hope your are far more successful than I am, and, even better, never have to reach my advanced age! Yes, times have changed, but people seem to be surprisingly the same.


Posted by Let's hope, a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Let us just hope that the disrespectful ramblings of these high school posters leads to something beneficial in the long run. What? I don't yet know. I honestly had no idea that high school students, in Palo Alto, had the ability to be so rude and ignorant. I am shocked and saddened.

To all of you Paly Proponents of Drinking:
So what if we drank in high school, our parents surely didn't know, and our schools did everything to get us to stop--and you know what? We did, because it wasn't rampant, and it wasn't necessary...

It is the law, and until Mr. I-Will-Be-More-Successful-than-you-Jeremy-Kim gets the law changed, the fact of the matter is that it is still a law for which the school and school district are liable if anything were to happen.

The school would be LIABLE.

Does that make sense? The district could pay dearly and sadly in this litigious society, the district's reputation could become irreparable. Is that worth a few beers, shots or mixed drinks. Hopefully, when you students are more successful than we are, the age'd majority, you will see how wrong, and just how plain sad your arguments are.

Good luck with your life...Funny, I am hesitant to pass the torch.


Posted by ^_^, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 11:06 pm

PA Mom- if you're raising you're kids in the right environment then you don't have to worry about your kids becoming alcoholic drop. The only reason why we've become this way is because you'll always hear parents and teachers saying NEVER DRINK AND DO DRUGS which makes anyone automatically want to do what they aren't allowed to do. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Enough Said, a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Good luck boys


Posted by Who cares, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by jerry, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Palo Alto Online Staff. Please stop deleting comments by people. Ever heard of freedom of speech?


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2008 at 11:49 pm

I am amazed at the posts that have been written by students. To see the way they have written, their arguments, their conceit, their know it all arrogance and lastly their grammar, is amazing to me.

However, one point raised is worth discussing. Parents who tell their kids never to drink til they are 21 and then expect them to be able to tell what is the sensible way to drink is indeed expecting too much. Kids are taught much by their parents, how to be respectful, how to have good manners, how to have good personal hygiene, how to drive, etc. etc. and yet, for most kids, by the time they are old enough to drink, they have left home and are outside the tutorage of their parents. It is a strange idea that it is actually illegal for parents to give their 16 year old (let alone 19 year old adult child) a glass of wine with a meal or a beer while watching tv and teach them responsible drinking habits. In our home, we don't give alcohol to our kids when their friends are about and we don't give them alcohol when they are going out for the evening. But, we do show them what responsible drinking looks like. We do let them have a glass of wine occasionally with a nice meal at home, or let them have beer when it seems appropriate. We don't tell them they can't while we drink and we expect them to respect what we are teaching them.

I expect my kids to obey the rules of school dances and to obey the laws of the land. If we take them to another country where they can drink at 18, we let them drink in public when we are. We teach them to not drink and drive, not to do drugs, and the appropriate way to treat alcohol. Therefore when they are actually old enough to drink they will know what alcohol is like and what it can do to them. Hopefully, this will be a good lesson for them to learn. And, we would like them to learn this lesson while they are with us rather than with so called friends at a college party.


Posted by Jonathan Shan, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Good job writing the story Arden. Our ASB Officers (Student government class)at Paly discussed the issue for half an hour, and we decided we are still going to hold the dance and spend the necessary amount of money for it, regardless of administrative action that may affect ticket sales. It is, after all, some people's last dance and we want to make it worthwhile, even if some of their peers hopped over to Gunn's Globall dance.

Also two more things:

1) I am disgusted at the mudslinging on this forum. Can we all try speak respectfully to each other in this discourse regardless of each individual's views? At this point I remain a cynic. It's just not Facebook here- anyone can write bull, and the admins will sort through and take things out. Quite a tedious system I imagine, but whatever floats PA Weekly's boat...

2) To respond to pa mom, I worked at Fry's, and my hope is you are being sarcastic, and with all due respect, you appear to be taking their security measures far too seriously. Try to see it from their perspective- it is a business, and it has every right to ensure items worth hundreds of dollars are not being smuggled out. It takes hardly a few seconds to check the items and to pass. Yes you are giving up some "privacy" by showing your purchased product, but it's just another person in a long line of people who have seen your product, and the only case in which you would possibly want "privacy" is if you purchased adult content...

If you are really bothered, then you should not shop there. Go online to Web Link or Web Link and purchase your items from there instead. Nobody is forcing you to give up your rights, because by entering, you agree to the store policies.

The dance is a school sponsored dance, and to reiterate what other insightful people have said, the school is held LIABLE for anyone who is intoxicated. The point of contention is as always how the issue is dealt with.


Posted by Jonathan, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 11:52 pm

One more thing, everyone please stop pulling the grammar card. More often than not, we have all made grammatical mistakes, and to criticize others as being arrogant while looking down upon their flaws comes off as hypocritical.


Posted by Jonathan Shan, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 28, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Totally spamming this forum, but:

Jerry. There is a trade off in this forum community you may not have learned yet- you can call yourself Al Sharpton in your name and keep your dignity and anonymity, but if you make personal attacks, insult people, and act plainly out of line, you lose the privilege of having your voice heard.

Freedom of speech is not absolute- it is to a degree determined by standards the community, and clearly deleted portions were justified. The PA Weekly still should give categories as to why posts are removed to further make their case.


Posted by CARING MOM, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 12:42 am

I whole heartedly approve of the new school policy. The school is showing great integrity and consistency in following it's policy with actions. If the adults in these kids' lives act together with compassion and consistency the kids will be OK, if not happy at the moment. As far as I am concerned, it's the kids job to try to change the rules, it's the adults job to stick to what is right even if the kids don't seem to see the value in these decisions. It's our job to make sure they grow up safely and get a chance to try it any way they see fit with their own kids.

Please grow safely and do everything better then us, nothing will make us happier... On the other hand, if you decide to "punish" us and try worse drugs, you will first of all be punishing yourselves and your families... I hope you will make the right choice. Last point on the subject of drinking and fun,You don't need to be drunk to enjoy your youth, energy and beauty, you just need to relax a bit... try to remember how it was to have fun when you were a kid, it's not very different...


Posted by PALY parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 8:36 am

The high and mighty tone of the PALY students posting here is the funniest thing of all.
They have a phony maturity. We have reached the zenith of self-absorbed, condescending teens - very Palo Alto. You're given everything, every opportunity, but you respond with ingratitude and immaturity. Ever heard of a little self-restraint?
BTW not everyone drinks - surprise - not even everyone at college.


Posted by Allen MacMorris, a resident of Midtown
on May 29, 2008 at 9:07 am

I'd just like to point out how the comments have become so off track. This was an article about a few teenagers who were caught drunk at prom and the new policy that Paly is implementing at dances, and it has turned into some moralistic flame between pretentious parents and whining students.
As a paly student, i think i can say to the students who have been posting, please pick your words more carefully because you reflect on all of us, and to the parents and concerned palo alto adults, please chill out. teenagers are going to drink, a breathalyzer at a dance is not going to stop that.
I think i really take offense at the parents who make comments that tie alchohol use to being a "drop out" or "unsuccesful." I drink and i am attending the University of North Texas next year as a Jazz Drumset Performance major. I can be at a house party and see my friends acting stupid while under the influence, only to remember that they got into Stanford or USC.
Please, let's leave the generalizations alone.


Posted by Allen MacMorris, a resident of Midtown
on May 29, 2008 at 9:12 am

Oh, and to the PALY parent above me ^
It would really benefit you to stop commenting, as you are treating this forum not as it is intended, to debate the issue at hand, but to lash out at teenagers.
You must remember, while we are all given every benefit growing up in Palo Alto, we were also subject to some of the greatest pressures. In case it has passed you by, our public schools have immensly high standards, as well as our parents and peers. We have been brought up with the mindset that if you don't go to either one of the best UC's or an Ivy League school, then you are a failure.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Ryan P., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2008 at 9:54 am

Jim H. wrote:
"Put them in jail.
We undergo drug testing for jobs. We have to stop at DUI checkpoints. We have to go through security checkpoints at airports (including a full, pat-down body search last year in Frankfurt). Liquor licenses have been lost, and employees have been cited and fired for serving alcohol to underage customers.
Why should high school students be immune from the laws that govern all of us?
If a 16 to 18-year old shows up at a high school dance under the influence, arrest them, and bring in their parents ("contributing"). Let's put the responsibility where it belongs - on the kid, and on the parents that let it happen. Don't criticize the school for protecting the decent, law-abiding participants in the event."

Dear Jim H.,
Before you make comments on this forum, please take a minute to fact check what you say. Teenagers who have jobs are tested routinely for drugs. Teenagers who are pulled over for drinking and driving are given a DUI. Teenagers don't just run through the security checkpoints at airports. Your comments are absurd and do not support your argument. Furthermore, the debate is not whether or not teenagers should drink, that is a separate issue. The debate should be about the policy that the Palo Alto High School administration is enforcing. To breathalyze every single student attending a dance is unjust and a waste of time. Only a small percentage of students show up to dances under the influence, why should other students have to suffer due to the actions of others? Also, the current policy at Paly dances is to confront students who appear to be intoxicated, and that is obviously working. The administration did not have to breathalyze every single student going to prom to find a dozen kids who had been drinking, they just confronted the suspicious ones and dealt with that issue.
Also, to say that parents let drinking happen is somewhat far-fetched. A small number of Paly parents condone drinking, but the majority of them do not. Teenagers are going to find ways to get alcohol; even the most protective parents can not always stop their children from drinking. The parents do have a responsibilty to not provide alcohol to their children and their friends, but they can not always control the actions of their children when they are out of their sight. They can only try and have a positive influence on them. We need to start discussing the actual issue, which is the breathalyzing policy, not the issue of teenage drinking.


Posted by wow, a resident of Barron Park
on May 29, 2008 at 10:19 am

Ryan
great point that discussion on this thread is about the policy.

Can you share what you view would be the difference between the examples you referenced (new job drug testing, DUI stops, airport security checks) that everyone, including all young and old, goes thru even though there is a very small percentage of folks to which the purpose of those tests apply, and the schools new policy.

Wouldn't you agree that in both the non-school and school examplescases, Only a small percentage are in violation of the law, yet others have to suffer due to the actions of others?

If you do agree, how would you then distinguish the two to support not having to subject the vast majority to testing that is designed to apprehend the flagrant few?


Posted by High stakes, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 11:06 am

My son lost a classmate during his freshman year at Paly. I remember my own feelings as I comforted him. I remember telling him that sadly, virtually no high schooler is immune from the tragedy of a classmate's death. I lost several friends and classmates in middle and high school. Stress, suicide, drunk driving and feelings of invincibility were the main causes. We lost or nearly lost a senior every year as a result of intoxicated graduation celebrations.

Several students here wrote that drinking is all part of being a teenager. I have news for you: losing classmates to alcohol is a common occurence, too. It's preventable, if you're willing to listen.

ANONYMOUS wrote: "Let us live a little and learn from our mistakes."

The problem is that you may not live to learn from your mistakes. Or, the lesson you learn may involve living the rest of your life with the knowledge that you killed someone (a friend or stranger) with your mistake.

Paly admin, parents, and the community at large have an obligation to educate teenagers on the effects of irresponsible drinking.


Posted by Allen MacMorris, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 11:19 am

to the above comment ^
my deepest sympathies for your and your son's loss. I too have lost a friend to drunk driving. You may remember hearing about it a few years ago, a Gunn student named Garth Lee was driving drunk on 101 and smashed into the center divide. It truly is a tragedy.
At the same time, one cannot blame alcohol as the sole reason for a loved one's death in a drunk driving or similar accident. I do not blame alcohol for killing Garth, because he made the decision to drink when he knew he had to drive home, and he made the decision to take the freeway while intoxicated.
People who make mistakes, even fatal ones, while under the influence of alcohol are only influenced to a degree, and the majority of the "blame" (for lack of a better word) is assigned to other personal issues and bad judgment calls.
As i said, losing a friend or family member is a terrible thing to go through, and i am not saying that alcohol was not a factor in any of the aforementioned cases, but it was only 1 factor.


Posted by Tom Landers, a resident of Professorville
on May 29, 2008 at 11:36 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by Pedro T Sanchez, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 29, 2008 at 11:38 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by Dj Fotsch, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2008 at 11:39 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by alex, a resident of Midtown
on May 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Yes, because we wouldn't want to allow our children to get experience with a universally available and used substance. Not like Italy where children drink with their parents and alcoholism rates are much lower than here because booze and getting drunk aren't such a big deal. No, no, that wouldn't do.


Posted by Don't get the anger, a resident of College Terrace
on May 29, 2008 at 2:14 pm

"Yes, because we wouldn't want to allow our children to get experience with a universally available and used substance. Not like Italy where children drink with their parents and alcoholism rates are much lower than here because booze and getting drunk aren't such a big deal. No, no, that wouldn't do."

I think you are missing the point. There are perfectly legitimate arguments on the merits of our current drinking age restrictions, but it has nothing to do with school policy. As long as it is illegal for kids under 21 to drink alcohol, the school cannot condone any sort of drinking at any school function.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Meadow Park
on May 29, 2008 at 2:26 pm

The proposed policy seems similar to drug testing in the work place. Employers do this only partly because they don't like druggies at work; and certainly not because of some moral mission of stopping drug abuse. They do it in large part because they are liable for negligence if someone who is on drugs endangers, hurts, steals from, abuses, etc. other employees, customers, etc. So they take necessary precautions to prevent problems and cover their ass.

Same here. The policy has always been that you can't drink or be drunk at a school function. No change there. But now the administrators seem to think the need to ratchet up testing to protect the school and enforce the policy. It's hard to judge the context of this - it clearly wasn't the one incident - as the administrator said, that was the straw the broke the camel's back.

So they are doing what they need to do. No one imagines this will create a sea change in teen substance abuse habits, etc. Or that kids won't show up stoned, or sneak alcohol in, or drink afterwards, or drive drunk, or do whatever other dumb things kids (and adults) do. But it means the school administrators will have done their job, taking appropriate precautions to protect those they are charged with protecting.


Posted by another Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 2:26 pm

The point is the law is the law. If you don't like the law, work to change it, that has always been my view about things (in this case, some of you wish to lower the legal drinking age). I am neutral on that part. That would be fine, really, by me. Be aware though, that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a powerful organization that would fight your trying to lower the drinking age and they would marshal lots of statistics about drunk driving tragedies among young drivers... In meantime, the sad truth is - public schools have to act responsibly and I guess the breathalyzer idea is part of it. I have no knowledge of breathalyzers and wonder how much of a hassle is it to use on on every student entering a dance? I mean, is it 3 seconds out of your day? Or is it just the hassle/the general principle that students are objecting to?


Posted by Tammy, a resident of The Greenhouse
on May 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm

I find this whole discussion to be pointless because we are getting absolutely no where. Yes teenagers drink, but not all of them! I do not understand why they need to breathalyze everyone who enters the dance in order to make sure no one is drunk. If someone shows up to the dance slightly tipsy but does not cause a commotion, then let them be. They aren't doing anything and at least they aren't driving around or at a party where they are at risk to drink more.

I also saw the number of tickets sold for the dance so far... 15...pretty impressive. Sounds like this dance will be quite an experience!

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by Tammy, a resident of The Greenhouse
on May 29, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Oh, I would also really appreciate if the admin would quit deleting 1/2 the posts. Thx.


Posted by i always win so dont argue, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Rocket Scientist, a resident of Atherton
on May 29, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Of course schools will take all sorts of measures to ensure that there will be no drinking, but through the extensive breathalyzation process, students will choose to not attend the dances, whether they were intending on drinking or not. If it's not blatantly visible, it's plausible to interpret it as an invasion of personal privacy. It could prove to be extremely detrimental to the ASB or whichever group raises money from the Paly dances.

Also, two of the "handful" of students who were prosecuted at the Paly Prom were later proven innocent. Their night was ruined and they had to deal with fighting to get their appeals approved by the administration. This is because the breathalyzer measures the amount of methyl present to the thousandth (0.000). While alcohol IS in the methyl group, there are thousands of other compounds included. So take diabetics as an example: diabetics can easily have high acetone (methyl group) levels, which has been PROVEN to set off breathalyzers. There are 20 million diabetics in the US alone, surely Paly students are included in that number. Because of the possible false accusations and inconvenience to students, breathalyzation should NOT be mandatory at Paly events. It's not rocket science.


Posted by wow, a resident of Barron Park
on May 29, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Tammy
" I do not understand why they need to breathalyze everyone who enters the dance in order to make sure no one is drunk."

For the same reason everyone who enters an airplane is subjected to security check - you can't just check the terrorists.

It's a school function. The administrators are responsible and accountable for kids safety on the most basic level. If this argument falls on deaf ears, than on the secondary level -- financial -- it is their obligation to minimize the school district (and themselves) from getting sued.

So, the choices are pretty clear. Abide by the new policy, work to change it, or boycott the dance and/or have your own dance.

The latter one is an interesting concept. Why not rent out a hall (Lucie Stern, the Edge, etc.), steer it away from being a school function, get some group ( perhaps the parents of the kids who go to the dance?) to take on the liability risks and have a breathalyzer free dance.

Now - since it's no longer a school function, would you make the dance open to other hi school students outside Paly?



Posted by Sheesh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm

C'mon kids. Man up, take the test. Your cooperation might mean that a life is saved. Think of it as community service. If you aren't drinking, you can go and enjoy the dance. No big deal.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 5:23 pm

What you seem to forget is that these dances are voluntary. No one has to go to them if they don't want and if they want to drink then no one wants them there. Likewise, if you don't want to be brethalyzed, you don't have to go.

Now, if they started breathyzing everyone at school after lunch, for example, or having metal detectors at the entrances, then you could say that your privacy was being invaded. Still, in some schools those things happen on a daily basis, because they need to. The way some students are talking, maybe breathyzers at other school events and classes may be necessary too.


Posted by PA Mom, a resident of Barron Park
on May 29, 2008 at 5:27 pm

To Sheesh,
Finally, a voice of reason!

As the mother of 2 Gunn grads who have both experienced deaths of friends in college, I hope the schools do whatever it takes to minimize the problems around teen drinking. I certainly don't have the answers but I do know about the devastation that an accidental death can cause a family. It's so selfish to overindulge in something that can potentially cause the people who love you a lifetime of grief.


Posted by Danielle, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 6:33 pm

If the issue is teenager drinking, breathalyzing students isn't going to do much to solve the issue.


Posted by Sheesh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Breathalyzing may not do much to solve the issue of teens drinking, but if the kids fail the test, they're dumped right back in the laps of Mom and Dad. Then the parents can take some responsibility for what happens after that. That might be a wake up call to all concerned.

And I'm glad to see the school stepping up in a meaningful way. Hope they don't cave on this one and that it goes district wide in the high schools.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Atherton
on May 29, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Right, but why should even the innocent kids lose the trust of their parents? The tests do not measure only alcohol, but it measures methyl, and as mentioned before, there are thousands of compounds in the methyl group. This can easily lead to unjust accusations.

Also, are we talking about drunk driving? These students had to mandatorily take limos. And after prom, the limos dropped them off at a designated house. If a student makes the decision to drive drunk afterwards, it is out of the school's liability.

Nobody is advocating drunk driving, we have come to the mutual consensus that it's horrible and life-threatening, but it is a conscience choice, not the school's.


Posted by Sheesh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 29, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I doubt that innocent kids will lose the trust of their parents. If there have been ongoing medical issues which may effect the breathalyzer results, a process can be put in place to address this.
I believe the bottom line is that underage drinking is AGAINST THE LAW, limos or not. It may be a "conscience choice" by teens who drink, and drive, but this choice is not given to those who may beome their victims. Again I say that the kids should step up and take the tests. And the parents should be happy that there is another layer of concern for their kids and support the school's efforts.


Posted by BreathOK, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 29, 2008 at 8:13 pm

While breath alcohol tests are imperfect, they are widely used by law enforcement for sobriety screening. Often the results are not court-admissible, depending on the state and the device used. And there can be errors, depending on various circumstances. But typically they are used in conjunction with other field sobriety tests, like physical coordination, etc. Since law enforcement officers perform these tests every day, I presume that school administrators, with proper training, can as well. Since their goal is to protect the safety of their charges, not gaining court convictions, this seems like a reasonable approach.


Posted by a concerned adult, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2008 at 8:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by concerned adult, a resident of Green Acres
on May 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm

why was my post removed it have a valuable insight into this discussion


Posted by Still don't get it, a resident of College Terrace
on May 29, 2008 at 9:04 pm

"If the issue is teenager drinking, breathalyzing students isn't going to do much to solve the issue. "

No, the issue is drinking AT A SCHOOL FUNCTION. Of course teenagers will drink, but that does not mean that the school has to condone or accommodate it.


Posted by are you dumb?, a resident of Greater Miranda
on May 29, 2008 at 9:09 pm

no one thinks the school should condone drinking.. its against the law...
but people are saying breathalyzing errbody is a futile attempt to stop the drinking


Posted by James, a resident of Midtown
on May 29, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Intelligence is demonstrated by the way a person exercises the amount of wisdom which they have received. While drinking alcohol and using drugs is obviously stupid and self-destructive, we should only expect the wise choice to be made by those who have received the intelligent examples from family and friends. This online discussion will not be resolved in open forum and can only invite hostile responses from those who feel threatened by their own lack of wisdom.


Posted by It's a Grown Up Thang, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 29, 2008 at 9:37 pm

They aren't trying to stop the drinking; they are trying to manage liability and maintain order. Just a couple of those boring things that adults get paid to do.


Posted by Jonathan Shan, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Your comments were removed because they were inappropriate and didn't meet the TERMS OF USE Web Link

Rocket Scientist,

The diabetic argument is bunk.

When I went to complain to Jerry Berkson, our Asst. Principal (who is behind this whole charade, not Dr. McEvoy), he said it was sophisticated enough to not give that sort of false positives. The manufacture website for the breathalyzer states the same thing. I forgot to mention this to Arden when she interviewed me.

Speed/convenience argument is also bunk.
Read the story.
Coat check at the dances take a hellova lot longer because parents are reluctant to chaperone, and there is always a shortage of people to help out. Maybe the change in policy will alter this, maybe it won't.

Guess we will have to find out what happens tomorrow.

I think the weekly should move all the offensive comments to a new thread, and label it "Comedy/Humor" for seniors like me who are bored and enjoy seeing people go off their rockers.


Posted by Jose, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 29, 2008 at 9:51 pm

So earlier I noticed that people were mentioning how unsafe it is to drive drunk. If we breathalyze everyone at school functions it will cause teenagers to not want to go to the school function in the first place and go drink/drive somewhere else. Also, teenagers only go drunk/tipsy to dances because the dances are BORING. Being slightly tipsy causes some people to be able to enjoy themselves a little more & a majority of the time they do not cause a threat to others. if they do cause a threat to others then they get caught and suffer the consequences but people who just want to have a good time shouldnt also have to.


Posted by Buddy, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 29, 2008 at 9:58 pm

I have gone to almost every dance drunk this year but have never gotten caught. The only reason I haven't is because I am not dumb and act out or do stupid things. I am smart about it and I dont get wasted. yaafeelme? Going completely wasted is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You are basically asking to get caught.


Posted by this argument is going no where, a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 29, 2008 at 10:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Chris, a resident of Midtown
on May 29, 2008 at 10:06 pm

I think that doing a breath test on 600 students just because 5 or so people got caught drunk. I think that everyone totally blew this thing totally out of proportion by requiring every person to be breath tested. It seems like a total waste of money to potentially stop 5-10 kids who may be drunk by spending 1760 bucks on 3 Breathalyzers. I don't think that spending that much money was PALY's best investment. Perhaps one would do. How about spending the money on something else that could immediately affect those of us who go to PALY.


Posted by jshan, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 11:04 pm

there won't be 600 students at the dance. Prediction is around 150-250 depending on globall.

Jose's comment [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] ignores the legal obligations and ramifications, etc etc etc


Posted by Jose, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

And so far the ticket count is only at 15 for last chance dance... whoppde do. big turn out.


Posted by jshan, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 29, 2008 at 11:22 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Jose, it's 15 now because ticket sales started today, and everyone procrastinates. It's nothing new if you actually knew what was happening.


Posted by Still don't get it, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2008 at 7:27 am

"but people are saying breathalyzing errbody is a futile attempt to stop the drinking"

Actually, that seems like an absolutely effective way to stop drinking AT THE DANCE. Overkill? Possibly. But I think that everyone agrees that the policy of "no drinking/no drunks" at the dance is something the school must have. So let's go through the steps of enforcement:

1. "Please don't show up drunk." Obviously, doesn't work.
2. "We will patrol the dance and discipline those that are drunk." Apparently, this doesn't work either.
3. "Breathalyzers. Police." Will it ruin dances? Will anyone notice? I guess we'll see.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2008 at 8:57 am

There are two reasons why there are not enough chaparones at dances.

Firstly, parents who have done it hate it because they feel like the booze police, they don't like the abuse from those who are drunk and they don't like watching the sexy dancing.

Secondly, many students won't go to the dances if they know their parents are going to be there. This is not because they want to do things that their parents would disapprove of, but more of who wants to go to a dance where their own parents are going to be there, that just isn't cool. (I would have fallen into that category and would have felt too embarrassed if my parents had been anywhere near me when I was out with my friends as a teenager).

For this reason, maybe it would be a good idea to get fresh/soph parents to chaperone. It is the sort of tradition that happens at other schools and other events in PAUSD.

Lastly, we do need to do something. We are losing an excellent Paly vp this year. One of the reasons may have something to do with not wanting to have to deal with drunk Paly students at dances.


Posted by Mother of two teens, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2008 at 9:25 am

Perhaps we're losing the excellent VP because he's not happy with the new regime (McEvoy and Berkson) . . .


Posted by Gossip much?, a resident of another community
on May 30, 2008 at 9:46 am

Perhaps we're losing the VP because he's tired of seeing everything at Paly turn into baseless speculation and gossip fodder on Palo Alto Online's Town Square Forum!!

...and, "regime"??? Really?

regime: 1 a government, esp. an authoritarian one.
2 a system or planned way of doing things, esp. one imposed from above

I can see a teenager calling school admin. a "regime" but grownups should know better.


Posted by Can't BelieveWhat ImReading, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Hello All of you - especially the students.

I applaud the administration for taking a hard stance.

Students - yes a few ruined the fun for all but what I am reading is that many of you knew others were drinking before many dances - so why did you allow it to happen? What didn't you take the ownership/leadership stance? Why did you allow it to get to this point where adminstrators had to take a hard line?

Parents of those who have particpated in underaged drinking - don't turn the cheeck pay attention to what you teens are doing.

Lastly, My high school years I lost 6 classmates to drinking - 5 in a car accident(prom night). One to alcohol poisoning.

Wake up - its not cool.


Posted by paly student, a resident of Downtown North
on May 30, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Forcing everyone to be breathalized may seem like the right thing to do, but it can only lead to problems. The kids at a nearby private school pretty much all do ecstacy during their dances because they all have to be breathalyzed at the door. I've heard from many students that they plan on doing ecstacy before the last chance dance because of the new policy. just something to think about


Posted by wow thats annoying, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 30, 2008 at 10:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by jon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 30, 2008 at 10:30 pm

to add to my point, Jose, 180 tickets were sold. Probably would have had double without the breathalyzer, I'll give you that.

Diorio was being such a kid with thebreathalyzer: "Ooo, wait, blow into this" *Blow* greenlight, hillarious. Still, where the hell did we pull that money from again?

It was only then that I realized the thousand dollar toys were overrated.

DJ was chill

We had Red Bull. Ironic, no?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by so bad, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2008 at 9:55 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2008 at 10:01 am

The truly scary thing, is that these students are the leaders and professionals of our tomorrow. I hope they manage to grow up first.

Many adolescents in Palo Alto seem to be very immature. It is too easy round here for them to get all they need materialistically and although I agree that they do have pressures in high school, it is only high school. Wait until they have graduated college and start finding out what the real pressures in life are, mortgages, credit card debt, relationships, aging parents, job security, and they will realise that what they are calling pressure now is only a foretaste of what is to come. They will turn into their parents, however how they get there is going to be a big wake-up call to them.


Posted by Roland, a resident of Green Acres
on May 31, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Ecstasy? That's better? To avoid a breathalyzer test, you're going to trade maybe a suspension and a night in jail for prison time, a felony record, expulsion, no college, no job, no future?

Brilliant. A perfect example of the mature thinking in this community.


Posted by Eagle Eye, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 31, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Gee, the kids didn't want to blow into a breathalyzer so they didn't go to the dance. I guess that showed us, huh. And to further flex their muscles, next time some will be substituting ecstasy for booze. Tell me again about how these kids have the capacity to make mature decisions...


Posted by you're not smart..., a resident of Crescent Park
on May 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm

the fact that no one went to the dance was to prove the point that its a stupid policy... only a few people might start doing x, it is most likely that if this policy continues people will just continue to not attend dances

... if evolution is right then in theory the kids should be a tiny tiny bit smarter than you, think about that.


Posted by Robert Walis, a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2008 at 5:16 pm

A writer calling himself "you're not smart" wrote:

... if evolution is right then in theory the kids should be a tiny tiny bit smarter than you, think about that.

Evolution? Doesn't it also show that entire species can die and become extinct because of stupidity and their lack of ability to succeed in the world around them?

There are two ways to increase the intelligence level of a specific population. One is through education and discipline. The other is through the deaths of the stupid ones - something that's bound to happen if this attitude toward high school drinking and drug use continues.


Posted by you're not smart either, a resident of Greater Miranda
on May 31, 2008 at 5:30 pm

most adults broke some rules as teenagers, it happens, however if teenagers want to drink they are going to do it, the policy is a good way to stop drinking AT DANCES i agree with that, but attendance is going to drop and people will drink elsewhere in a less safe environment


Posted by Paly student, a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Hey - Paly guys -

Here's the choice. Sober up and come to the dances, where you're surrounded by a couple of hundred pretty girls.

Or, stay home drunk, and hope your wrist doesn't give out while your friends have fun.

Personally, I'll stay sober to be in that room full of girls...


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2008 at 5:35 pm

ynse

What makes you think that dances are a safe environment to drink?

Yes, many adults broke rules as teenagers. It is also true that many adults were still children until the age of 21. The fact that adults broke rules as teenagers does not stop the fact that they broke rules. For today's teens, particularly those who have turned 18, they are now classed as adults. The reason why the age of adulthood was changed is now a bit vague, but I suppose it had something to do with assuming that an 18 year old can act more mature than a 17 year old. It seems nowadays that the teenagers are not acting very mature and perhaps the age should go back to 21. If teens want to be treated as adults at age 18 then they ought to be obeying the rules and acting more mature than the 18 year olds of the past.


Posted by to paly student, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 31, 2008 at 5:39 pm

actually only like 10% of the schools girls are worth dancing with and a lot of hot girls will drink instead


Posted by Paly student, a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm

paly student --

10% is better than being home alone. Yeah I agree - it can be pretty gruesome sometimes. But it's better than sitting alone at home


Posted by paly student, a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 31, 2008 at 7:47 pm

my point is that its better to be drinking than at the dance, how did you not get that...


Posted by Oliver, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 31, 2008 at 11:10 pm

I think that the new dance policy at Paly is horrible. Let us have a good time. Only the people who pass out should be taken by the administration and suspended. Its not like all these parents are going to the dances themselves, therefore why should you give a damn what happens. You parents are all so ignorant of what happens in high school. Do you think that students are never exposed to alcohol at parties? The recent dance held fewer than 20 people. The affects of a GREAT dance policy loses the administration cash and caused the students to lose their last dance.


Posted by Abstainer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2008 at 7:44 am

One day these kids will realize that alcohol and it's effects are greatly over-rated. In the long run drinking alcohol will give you no pleasure - try abstinence you'll enjoy it.


Posted by Eagle Eye, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2008 at 9:01 am

Oliver, the dance policy didn't cause any kids to lose their last dance. The kids chose not to attend the last dance because they preferred to (drink, I guess).


Posted by anon., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2008 at 9:56 am

Teenage drinking is not a privilege... it is ILLEGAL.
The teachers/administration need to send out the message that dances will have a 100% no-alcohol tolerance policy. The DMV has a no tolerance policy - if you drink underage, you lose your license. I agree with the new testing policy at dances. While it is inconvenient to those who don't drink, it may save lives. June is a time when seniors drink and drive and hopefully kids will be prevented from drunk-diving incidents.


Posted by Amused, a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Be thankful PA!
At least the kids are not bringing guns to the dances!
Paly has had a long tradition of not conforming to the rules!
Those of us who attended from 1974 to 1977 did our share of non conforming! Ha!
This is America, not the now defunct USSR!


Posted by Not a TFB, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:56 pm

"Those of us who attended from 1974 to 1977 did our share of non conforming! Ha!"

Amused,

Yep, there are many spoiled trust fund babies in this town. Even worse, those TFBs have parents who were/are also TFBs! It appears to be generational. Brats are brats.

But adults are adults, and they need to hold the line, and deliver a punch in face to the brats.


Posted by paly's big member, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 2, 2008 at 1:09 am

[Comment removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by Cyril Gary, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2008 at 11:37 am

The internet is serious business, fight on inebriated warriors.


Posted by An Adult, a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 2, 2008 at 11:50 am

The average level of discourse from the students in this thread pretty much illustrates why students do not and will not ever be given the power to make these rules. It also aptly illustrates why those who advocate that the right to vote be given to those less than 18 years of age will continue to be opposed by those of us older than that.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on Jun 2, 2008 at 4:03 pm



An early age at onset of drinking (AOD) is a strong predictor of subsequent alcohol dependenceWeb Link
"Previous work had found that about one in three individuals who reported having started drinking at ages 17 or younger also reported having been alcohol dependent, either currently or previously,"
explained Richard A. Grucza, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine and the study's corresponding author.

"For people who reported that they started drinking at age 21 or older, that number is one in ten.

In other words, individuals who begin drinking at 17 or younger are more than three times more likely to develop AD than those who begin at age 21 or older."


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Jane

Your comments are interesting.

I would like to ask you a couple of questions. Are those who beginning to drinking at 17 or younger actually from homes where there is a lot of abuse of alcohol to begin with? If this is the case then there is more of role model issues and availability issues that makes it easier for them to become dependent on alcohol.

Also, are those who become dependent after age 21 becoming dependent because they start associating with people who are dependent themselves.

I ask these questions because I strongly believe that alcohol abuse comes from being taught how to abuse it rather than becoming dependent on one's own. If someone lives in a home where alcohol is abused or at least over-used frequently or someone marries or starts mixing with a social group that drink too much, then it is much more likely that they will start.

On the other hand, if someone comes from a home where they have been taught how alcohol should be treated in moderation and then mixes with others who have the same views, they are more likely to keep the same views.

In other words, it is what they observe to be socially acceptable that they will mirror for themselves. If anyone is in a social circle where alcohol forms a major part of the day to day life, they will follow suit, whereas if they are taught moderation and mix with those who find other ways to have fun, they will do the same.

Therefore, it is the social aspect that is more important and what we must teach our kids. Telling them not to do it when we are doing it ourselves or telling them not to do it because we have a stigma and they are rebelling, is just sending the wrong message.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:28 pm



Parent

I provided the link to the study in my post above

The brain does not fully develop until 22yrs, alcohol is a neuro toxin

It is fine for those over 40 worried about heart disease but kids are not missing out on any health benefits-- to the contrary

It was for good reason that Stanford used to ban alcohol sales within 1 mile of campus and still to not allow it in the stadium.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Previous research has established the link between early onset of drinking and lifetime diagnosis of alcoholism.
Key to understanding the relationship between early drinking and alcoholism risk is whether the act of drinking while young raises lifetime risk, or whether early drinking reflects an underlying predisposition for risky behavior in particular young people.
In the latter case, early drinking would be considered a marker identifying individuals already at risk for developing alcoholism.
In this study, investigators attempted to account for factors-such as family history of alcoholism, childhood antisocial behavior and depression, and smoking and drug use-known to be associated with higher risk.
Even controlling for a number of risk factors and the effects of age differences among respondents, early drinking was associated with an increased risk of lifetime alcohol diagnosis.Web Link


Posted by scrubs..., a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 2, 2008 at 9:22 pm

its funny when people say the students posting on this forum are dumb, spoiled and will never get to make decisions.. well you're obviously wrong on all three accounts
1) Palo Alto/ the bay area have some of the best schools in the state
2) the parents of PA students are rich because they worked in silicon valley and made money through their intelligence a trait they passed to their kids
3) and we will inevitably become 18 and later 21 and we will do whatever we want, granted our judgment may be better come 21 but nevertheless we will help control YOUR social security plan... so dont be a d-bag


Posted by fromanotherview, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2008 at 5:31 am

To scrubs......

1)PA/Bay area have some of the best test scores (which for some means the best schools - this is debatable when you look outside your PA bubble) because it is an affluent area - period.

2)The values being instilled by today's PA parents are inferior to the work ethic instilled by the 60-70's parents. The parents may have passed on a innate intelligence, but did not follow through with what made them successful in the first place - the work ethic taught to them by their parents and required by society. It is why so many of today's graduates can succeed in a school setting - hitting the books. On the other hand, struggle or fail in the real world.

3)Scary thought.....the older generation will need to pay for their failure in parenting and work a little longer than planned......but they already knew it.

I do understand your angst regarding the policy, but this, too, shall pass just like your ignorance as you age!!


Posted by comrade anton, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2008 at 10:33 pm

in soviet russia kids have first vodka age 12. it against laws but no one care because everyone do it, it is same in palo alto


Posted by , a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2008 at 10:03 pm

an abrupt end to the heated arguments...


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2008 at 11:20 am

I have not heard so much "in defense of drinking" in a long time and all from students who drink. These students are definitely in denial about the long and short term effects of alcohol consumption. Obviously the high school assemblies about drinking alcohol didn't teach these people anything-makes you wonder about the effectiveness of high school assemblies. And it's pretty obvious that underage drinking is prevalent. And the only thing I can surmise so far is that teens drink because they area told they can't. But as much as that is such an old adage, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. Some parents think kids drink because they are told they can. It doesn't make any sense why the High School has to go to such great lengths to prevent something that obviously some kids will always do, with or without permission. The school is trying to affect that with a new policy because as an educational institution it always has to protect itself from what they see is harmful to students-one reason the drinking age isn't 18, when someone is legally an adult is because some students are still in high school at age 18 and 19. And alcohol consumption
can sometimes bring rise to a whole lot of other harmful behaviors, like being abusive, disrespectful, antagonistic, enraged and all even out brawls and schools are not going to tolerate those things on site-it makes them look like a "bad" school. There is also a lot of scientific evidence that early alcohol consumption can lead to a life-time of alcohol abuse. So to all of those students who don't think it's a big deal to drink at dances or go drunk to dances, you are just acting out against what the kind of behavior the school wants and if you are going to continue to go against the rules then you deserve what you get-punishment! It's just too bad that the parents who serve their kid alcohol or buy them champagne, don't get the punishment alongside you-because then both of you might learn that there's a time and place for this kind of behavior and it isn't at school!


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm

While I totally agree that teens shouldn't be drinking at all, the way the school, particularly the principal, has handled this and a number of other issues this year is a problem. Most of the Paly kids are pretty mature and responsible, I feel the principal treats them as irresponsible children rather then teenagers who need guidance and support. It has been a pretty negative year in a school with a formerly positive atmosphere.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Acai bowls, headed to downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 2,576 views

How Bad Policy Happens
By Douglas Moran | 21 comments | 1,536 views

The life of Zarf
By Sally Torbey | 10 comments | 1,172 views

Freshman Blues Don't Mean Wrong College
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 2 comments | 1,110 views

Background and Ideas for the Comp Plan
By Steve Levy | 21 comments | 1,073 views